Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank Issues Marketing Communications RFP

Purpose:

There are two components to this RFP. Respondents are invited to bid for either section, or both. Holistic bids that respond to the entirety of this RFP will be afforded priority in the selection process. It is the Bank’s desire that through this RFP, it will solicit bids and enter into a retainer agreement with one or more firms for the following services listed under A and B below:

A. Marketing, Communications and Public Relations Strategy: The Infrastructure Bank is seeking a firm or firms to evaluate the Bank’s current marketing, communications and public relations approach and design, develop and execute on a firmwide marketing and communications strategy in collaboration with the Bank’s management. This strategy will include an evaluation of current marketing approaches (newsletters, press releases, social media) and propose a strategy and implementation plan to augment and/or catalyze market awareness of the Bank’s programs. The strategy should include goals and metrics against which the Bank may measure success.

B. Clean Energy Loan Suite Re-Branding: The Infrastructure Bank currently manages two (2) energy finance programs, and regularly explores the feasibility of developing and implementing new energy financing programs to fill market gaps. Of the two (2) programs under active management, one services the public sector and the other, the private sector.

1) The Efficient Buildings Fund (EBF), offers affordable financing for energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades for public entities.

2) The Bank’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE) provides long-term, fixed rate financing for private commercial real estate owners to install a renewable energy generation system or make energy efficient building upgrades. 

As both programs evolve and become increasingly visible across the state, the Bank would like to engage an independent marketing and communications firm to develop a branding strategy for the Bank’s clean energy “loan suite”. As part of this exercise, the selected respondent will be expected to build out the Bank’s web offerings for both programs, including the development and management of an external, customer-facing website for each of the two (2) programs being administered. The strategy and deliverables should also consider and have the ability to accommodate any future energy programs the Bank may develop or administer.

Background:

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is the centralized hub of local infrastructure project lending in the State. The Bank manages programs that finance infrastructure projects in the areas of clean water, drinking water, municipal road and bridge, energy efficiency and renewable energy, brownfield remediation, and stormwater and climate resiliency. The Bank actively supports and finances infrastructure investment through the origination of loans and mobilization of sources of public and private capital. Projects financed through the Bank serve to help build and maintain a strong system of infrastructure which boosts economic output in both the short- and long-term while enhancing the State’s environment.

The following are the programs currently in place: 

• Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (BRLF)

• Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) 

• Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) 

• Efficient Buildings Fund (EBF) 

• Municipal Resilience Program (MRP) 

• Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving Fund (MRBRF) 

• Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)

• Rhode Island Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund 

• Stormwater Project Accelerator (SPA) 

• Water Quality Protection Charge Fund

Scope of Work:

The following scope of work carefully specifies the marketing services of which the Bank seeks to enhance and utilize through the development of a comprehensive strategy. As part of the strategy development, applicants should plan to leverage primary and secondary research, competitive audit, and interviews (internal and external) to adequately determine the Bank’s brand perception amongst key stakeholder groups. Ultimately, the strategy will shape the tactics deployed to implement it. With that in mind, applicants are encouraged to provide suggestions or changes to the scope of work if deemed more conducive to the broader strategy.

External Communications 

Objective: Provide turnkey communications services for the Bank. The Bank regularly issues publications and hosts events. The successful bidder is expected to manage and curate the flow of information emanating from the Bank. Moreover, the successful bidder will demonstrate an aptitude and plan for expanding the Bank’s external media engagements.

Projects: Press & Media Management 

• Managing Bank publications promptly. 

o Drafting and distributing the Bank’s monthly newsletter. The newsletter gives a recap of the Bank’s activities for the most recent month.

o It is imperative that the selected bidder designate a specific employee to attend all Bank board meetings. Meeting contents often foreshadow newsletter stories.

• Writing and issuing press releases on behalf of the Bank. 

o Usually 2-4 Press Releases per month.

o Soliciting quotes from the relevant parties.

o Handling of Distribution to the Bank’s email list.

• Issuing media alerts. 

• Assisting with the formation and timely completion of the Bank’s annual report.

• Writing articles and editorials on behalf of Infrastructure Bank management. Advertising

• Execution of creative marketing/advertising campaigns. 

• Develop and execute on a two-year promotional and marketing strategy, including a social media strategy.

• Assure that marketing/advertising reaches the many diverse populations within our state including those that may be hard to reach but could most benefit from our programs. o Reach underrepresented populations.

• Consistent and dynamic content creation. 

o Animation 

o Infographics. 

• Content Deployment & Management. 

o Websites and social media platforms.

§ Traditional marketing platforms (i.e., TV, radio, trade publications, traditional media, direct marketing, etc.).

§ Emerging platforms (podcasting, streaming).

o Leveraging cutting-edge engagement strategies.

§ Using psychographics to tailor messages.

o Engaging challenging and hard to reach and underrepresented populations; and Successfully conducting active public engagement around controversial issues. Selected vendors will be expected to:

• Develop and propose a system of metrics for measuring results and outcomes: o Provide regular reports to determine if efforts are achieving agency goals.

o Monitor and provide analytic data to ensure the effectiveness of advertising and media expenditures.

• Recommend advertising channels across print, digital, social, broadcast and radio, based on research and agency goals:

o Negotiate fees with selected publications and media outlets.

o Place ads with media outlets as needed.

o Respondents should have a working knowledge, or experience with the following traditional and non-traditional media platforms: Television, radio, outdoor advertising, Google AdWords, print publications, YouTube video advertising, SEO, and social media advertising. Brand Strategy Development & Management Objective: Maintaining and enhancing the Bank’s brand identity and ensuring consistent brand standards are adhered to when developing content.

Projects: 

• Provide advice and expertise to staff on enhancing and maintaining brand standards.

• Assure that marketing/advertising reaches the many diverse populations within our state including those that may be hard to reach but could most benefit from our programs.

• Share and/or conduct market research and expertise to ensure effective outreach to target audiences.

• General public perception towards the Infrastructure Bank, its purpose, its results and its Brand.

• Forming insights and targeted strategies to further the Bank’s stakeholder appeal. Event Management Objective: The Infrastructure Bank leverages event-based marketing to engage stakeholders and catalyze broader public discourse on infrastructure related initiatives. Successful bidders will be expected to assist in all aspects of the event lifecycle.

Projects: 

• Organizing and arranging Infrastructure Bank events. 

• The Annual Rhode Island Infrastructure Summit (1-day event).

• Planned stakeholder events for the League of Cities and Towns, National Infrastructure Week, groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, and site visits.

• Stakeholder and program information sessions. 

• Managing all event aspects.

Due Date:

12:00 PM Eastern Time on October 26

Address:

Michael Baer Managing director Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank mbaer@riib.org            

235 Promenade Street, Suite 119 Providence, Rhode Island 02908

Ruder Finn and Finn Partners are agencies to consider.

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